Forget the Tooth Fairy. What we need now is a Toilet Paper Fairy.
I wasn’t going to write about the COVID – 19 pandemic, not just yet. There’s so much that’s scary about it already and I was afraid that some truly terrible development might occur in between my writing and your reading and that my words might seem hollow at best. Still, COVID-19 is the big, looming elephant in the room and it seemed wrong to gloss over it while attending to some of the other thousands of things going on in the world while we sit and worry and wait.
I don’t know about you, but my day now looks like this: Wake up, check the news for new COVID developments (send up a prayer), then begin scanning the universe for more toilet paper. Before my age-related self-incarceration, I made daily trips to the store, not even daring to hope, and ended up at the register with a cartful of whatever was still on the shelves that seemed remotely edible or useful – a couple of potatoes, a bag of paper napkins, a can of black eyed peas.
Then I’d go home and make soup. I made pea soup and tomato soup, lentil and Irish potato, and one mish-mash of all the leftover bits and pieces that turned out surprisingly delicious. Soup was already one of my favorite foods, not just because it’s a one bowl nightly cleanup, but because the act of making soup is soothing for me. There’s something about stirring a big pot on the stove that speaks of comfort and plenty instead of scarcity and fear.
Making soup helped ease some of the tension in my shoulders, temporarily suspended all those nagging little worries in my brain. I could chop and stir and think about what I logically needed to do next.
Mostly, what I needed to do was nothing – no shopping, no going out to lunch, no traveling to visit my grandchildren. With our last few outside hours, we were told to lay in a store of supplies in case we found ourselves homebound for…nobody knew how long…and then go home and wait for the all-clear.
And here I sit. Since I am both statistically elderly and quasi-immune compromised, I know it makes sense to stay put. And truly, I’m not worried about myself. Thanks to my lifelong OCD status, I have enough stores laid in, even toilet paper. (Don’t be mad.) Still, I worry. I worry about my daughters all those miles away from me. While I know in my heart of hearts that they are high-functioning adults, I keep having flashbacks of their less-than-organized teenage years. I check in with them daily. Do you have enough food? How are the children? What restrictions are you under now? Are the children okay? Each time, they assure me that everything is fine, but I went online and sent them boxes of steaks and pears and English muffin breads. I don’t know what else to do. I didn’t even try for toilet paper.
Other people have bigger worries, I know, children dependent on school lunch programs, parents in nursing care facilities. It’s terrible and horrible and we have to be separated from each other, just when we could use a hug or two.
So consider these words a virtual hug. Hugs have a long shelf life.
I wish I could send you toilet paper.